How digital transformation opened a new customer segment for Kennards Hire

The tendency for any organisation is to see customers the way you see themselves, says chief commercial officer of hiring company

customer-satisfaction-ts-100614586-orig.jpg
customer-satisfaction-ts-100614586-orig.jpg

The need for change can be difficult to accept for any business, especially for one that has been operating successfully for almost 70 years. But by embracing the need for digital transformation, family-owned equipment hire company, Kennards Hire, has found a new customer segment while improving service to existing ones.

Kennards recently redeveloped its Web presence from a static site to a dynamic hiring portal based on Magento, and the commercial results are exceeding expectations, Kennards’ chief commercial officer, Theo Triantafillides, says. A key benefit has been to attract business from a younger demographic.

“People who had never used Kennards before are the primary ones making their reservations and booking online, because they are finding us through digital search,” Triantafillides says. “We have reached into that younger demographic through a new channel, and it has been an eye opener.”

This result has helped vindicate the investment in the new site, which faced initial scepticism as to whether there was an unmet demand to hire equipment digitally.

“The tendency for any organisation is to see customers the way you see yourself,” Triantafillides says. “If we believe customers behave and consume in a certain way, we won’t be open to uncovering other demographics actually interested in consuming a different way.

Kennards hire chief commercial officer, Theo Triantafillides
Kennards hire chief commercial officer, Theo Triantafillides


“It is not until you put yourself into that position that you discover them. That’s what we’ve done.”

Triantafillides joined Kennards in November 2015, having previously held roles in sales and marketing in the logistics sector with Australia Post and Qantas. When he joined the company, it had already made a decision to pursue a digital future, but delayed its implementation.

The decision to select Magento was driven by a desire to adopt a best-in-class ecommerce platform, and bringing new processes and ideas into a very traditional industry. Together with its development and hosting partner eWave, Kennards worked to integrate a catalogue of more than 10,000 items, while also taking into account the variables and economics of the hire industry.

“There are a lot of complicating factors from an ecommerce point of view,” Triantafillides says. “While no one single thing is unique to Kennards or to rental, the combination of things is unique.

“We needed a robust platform to be able to cope with that and manage it, and be scalable for that variation.”

Changing the staff mindset

Transforming the website has also meant transforming other aspects of the company. Staff at Kennards’ branches had to be trained to handle the many reservations that would now be coming in overnight, to ensure inventory lists reflected reality.

And while Kennards had traditionally run a telephone-based customer support service, the introduction of Web chat meant significant care and training had to be undertaken to enable staff to deliver a personalised service through the new chat medium.

“Part of the customer journey is digital, and part of it is physical now,” Triantafillides says. “So how do you make sure that is seamless, and the experience is consistent through that process? We were very aware of making sure that, as much as possible, we replicated our value proposition in delivering the new service.

“At all stages, operational staff were included on the working group and participated in user testing, from functional specification onwards, and then we had customer groups get involved as well.”

While the priority to date has been around business-to-consumer interactions, Triantafillides says the next area of work will be focused on Kennards’ larger customers. Kennards will also mobilise the system for its branches, allowing team members to serve a customer at their vehicle as they come on site to collect or drop off with the addition of sign-on-glass functionality.

Triantafillides says a significant factor in the success of the project and ongoing transformation has been the entrepreneurial spirit of Kennards, which is still alive and well almost 70 years after the company was founded.

“The entrepreneurial DNA in Kennards is what made it possible, and that has been the core of our success to this point,” Triantafillides says. “We’ve disrupted ourselves and our own traditional thinking, and to me that has been of great value and will continue to be, because it has opened up minds to being more progressive and thinking in different ways.”

Read more about what digital transformation looks like at more Australian organisations:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

I found decent information in your article. I am impressed with how nicely you described this subject, It is a gainful article for us. Th...

Daniel Hughes

What 1800 Flowers is doing to create a consistent customer communications experience

Read more

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed ...

FIO Homes

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

I find this very strange. The Coles store i shop in still has Flouro lights? T though this would have been the 1st thing they would have ...

Brad

Coles launches new sustainability initiative

Read more

Well, the conversion can be increased by just using marketing, but in general if you are considering an example with Magento, then it is ...

Bob

How Remedy is using digital marketing and commerce to drive conversion

Read more

Blog Posts

Why conflict can be good for your brand

Conflict is essentially a clash. When between two people, it’s just about always a clash of views or opinions. And when it comes to this type of conflict, more than the misaligned views themselves, what we typically hate the most is our physiological response.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Sign in